Is Your Eating Disorder Tricking You Into Feeling Cared For?

Recently, my mind has been telling me that the only way I’ll ever be taken care of is if my eating disorder is out and running rampant.

I was in different forms of therapy and treatment for over 2 years when I was in college and yet, I never felt really cared for. There were people in my life that were supportive, but I never felt truly like I was truly “cared for”.

I felt like the support I had helped me just enough. But I really felt like I was on my own in terms of finding and following through on the support and treatment I needed.

When I started seeing my therapist and dietitian in September, I felt seen for the first time. I felt heard. I felt completely, and totally understood. They gave me new diagnoses that reflected what was actually going on for me. I felt less alone than I had in years.

And yet, I was relapsing. Hard.

To make a long story short, finding and securing treatment in January was a nightmare. It was really challenging for me, especially because I was in a super vulnerable time of my life.

My team stood by me and did extra work on their own to make sure that I got into a treatment center as quickly as possible. There were so many emails and phone calls back and forth for the entire month of January outside of our scheduled sessions.

They really went above and beyond to make sure that I had my needs met and I was in a place to stabilize.

Is it only because I’m sick?

It was the first time in my mental health journey that I felt truly taken care of, beyond traditional support. I’ve always been a person who is stubborn and desperate to be independent.

I have always felt like I should be able to do everything on my own. This was a time in my life where I had no other choice but to be taken care of.

This scares me to my core.

My eating disorder is scared that once I give it up, no one will care for me anymore. My treatment team will just bail, and I will be totally alone. I’ll have to fend for myself without the protection of the eating disorder to help me out.

It makes sense, in a way. The first time I felt like I was taken care of was when I got really sick.

I’m terrified to give up my eating disorder because it feels like that support and care-taking will disappear the second I say goodbye to it.

I can be taken care of- sick or not

Once I checked the facts on this with my team, I realized how completely backwards this kind of thinking is.

My therapist told me that when she walks into the room with me, she doesn’t just greet the eating disorder. She sees resilience, and strength, and someone who has something to offer to the world.

I can’t see all these facts when I’m blinded by the eating disorder.  My other therapist was very clear that while she worries about the eating disorder, she cares about ME as a person. Not the eating disorder.

It’s all a dialectic. I can be supported when I’m sick and I can also have that same level of support and care-taking when I’m not sick.

I don’t have to be sick to be taken care of.

My eating disorder has nothing to do with my deserving or not deserving to be taken care of. And you deserve to be taken care of too, Warrior.

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1 Comment

  1. says: Bill Kurz

    So proud of how you’re facing this disorder with such bravery and commitment. That you are taking it on AND posting the stages of your journey is incredibly bold. You are providing
    a window allowing us to see how those who love you can be as helpful and supportive as possible for you!

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